« PreviousContinue »
Many conformed to the church of England ; and, having submitted to new ordination, some of them obtained benefices : others joined in communion with the Presbyterians, and dissenters of various kinds. Dryden insinuates, that had the church of England presented vacancies sufficient for the provision of these foreign divines, she would probably have had the honour of attracting them all within her pale. The reformed clergy of France were far from being at any time an united body.“ It might have been expected,” says Burnet, “ that those unhappy contests between Lutherans, Calvinists, Arminians, and Anti-Arminians, with some minuter disputes that have enflamed Geneva and Switzerland, should have been at least suspended while they had a common enemy to deal with, against whom their whole force united was scarce able to stand. But these things were carried on rather with more eagerness and sharpness than ever.” History of his Own Times, Book IV.
Have followed you for miracles of bread. P. 203. The three steeples argent obviously alludes to the pluralities enjoyed, perhaps by Stillingfeet, and certainly by some of the divines of the established church, who were not on that account less eager in opposing the intrusion of the Roman clergy, and stigmatising those who, at this crisis, thought proper to conforın to the royal faith. These converts were neither numerous nor respectable; and, whatever the Hind is pleased to allege in the text, posterity cannot but suspect the disinterestedness of their motives. Obadiah Walker, and a very few of the university of Oxford, embraced the Catholic faith, conforming at the same time to the forms of the church of England, as if they wished to fulfil the old saying, of having two strings to one bow..-The Earls of Perth and Melfort, with one or two other Scottish nobles, took the same step. Of the first, who must otherwise have failed in a contest which he had with the Duke of Queensberry, it was wittily said by Halifax, that “ his faith had made him whole.” And, in general, as my countrymen are not usually credited by their brethren of England for an extreme disregard to their own interest, the Scottish converts were supposed to be peculiarly attracted to Rome by the miracle of the loaves and fishes. * But it may be said for these unfortunate peers, that
• Blue bonnet lords, a numerous store,
Whose best example is, they're poor;
if they were dazzled by tbe momentary sunshine which gleamed on the Catholic church, they scorned to desert her in the tempest which speedily succeeded. Whereas, we shall do a kindness to Lord Sunderland, if we suppose that he became a convert to Popery, merely from views of immediate interest, and not with the premeditated intention of blinding and betraying the monarch, who trusted him. Dryden must be supposed, however, chiefly interested in the vindication of his own motives for a change of religion.
'Tis easier far to flourish than to fight. P. 203. Dryden here puts into the mouth of the Panther some of the severe language which Stillingfleet had held towards him in the ardour of controversy. He had, in direct allusion to our author, (for he quotes his poetry,) expressed himself thus harshly:
“ If I thought there were no such thing in the world as true religion, and that the priests of all religions are alike, * I might have been as nimble a convert, and as early a defender of the royal papers, as any one of these chainpions. For why should not cne who believes no religion, declare for any? But since I do verily believe, that not only there is such a thing as true religion, but that it is only to be found in the books of ihe Holy Scripture, I have reason to inquire after the best means of understanding such books, and thereby, if it may be, to put an end to the controversies of Christendom.”+
“ But our grim logician proceeds from immediate and original to concomitant causes, which he saith were revenge, ambition, and covetousness. But the skill of logicians used to lie in proving; but this is not our author's talent, for not a word is produced to
Merely drawn in by hope of gains,
The New Conrerts.
Absalom and Achitophel, Part I.
that purpose. If bold sayings, and confident declarations, will do the business, he is never unprovided; but if you expect any reason from him, he begs your pardon. He finds how ill the character of a grim logician suits with his inclination.” I Again, “ But if I will not allow his affirmations for proofs for his part, he will act the grim logician; no, and in truth it becomes him so ill, that he doth well to give it over.” Ş And in the beginning of his “ Vindication,” alluding to a term used by the defender of the king's papers, Stillingtleet says: “But lest I be again thought to have a mind to flourish before I offer to pass, as the champion speaks in his proper language, I shall apply myself to the matter before us." +
And told his ghostly confessor his pain. P. 204. This is a continuation of the allusion to Stillingfleet's “ Vindication,” who had attempted to place Henry VIII.'s divorce from Catherine of Arragon to the account of bis majesty's tender conscience. A herculean task ! but the readers may take it in the words of the Dean of St Paul's :
“ And now this gentleman sets himself to ergoteering ; * and looks and talks like any grim logician, of the causes which produced it, and the effects which it produced. “The schism led the way to the Reformation, for breaking the unity of Christ's church, which was the foundation of it: but the immediate cause of this, which produced the separation of Henry VIII. from the church of Rome, was the refusal of the pope to grant him a divorce from
A Vindication of the Answer to some late Papers, p. 116. ♡ Ibidem, p. 117.
Stillingtleet plays on this expression of the grim logieian, in allusion to a passage of our author's “ Defence of the Duchess of York's Paper;" where he says, “That the kingdom of heaven is not only for the wise and learned," and that “our Saviour's disciples were but poor fisherinen ; and we read but of one of his apostles who was bred up at the feet of Gamaliel, and that poor people have souls to save, as precious in the sight of God as the grim logician's.". Dryden retoris it upon him in the text, + A Vindication, &c. p. 1.
Ergoteering was a phrase used by Dryden in his “ Defence of the Duchess's Paper," and which Stillingfleet barps upon throughout liis " Vindication."
his first wife, and to gratify his desires in a dispensation for a second marriage.
“ Ergo: The first cause of the Reformation, was the satisfying an inordinate and brutal passion.' But is he sure of this? If he be not, it is a horrible calumny upon our church, upon King Henry the Eighth, and the whole nation, as I shall presently show. No; he confesses he cannot be sure of it: for, saith he, no man can carry it so high as the original cause with any certainty. And at the same time, he undertakes to demonstrate the immediate cause to be Henry the Eighth's inordinate and brutal passion ; and afterwards affirms, as confidently as if he had demonstrated it, that our Reformation was erected on the foundations of lust, sacrilege, and usurpation : Yet, saith he, the king only knew whether it was conscience or love, or love alone, which moved him to sue for a divorce. Then, by his favour, the king only could know what was the immediate cause of that which he calls the schism. Well! but he offers at some probabilities, that lust was the true cause. Is Ergoteering come to this already?' But this we may say, if Conscience had any part in it, she had taken a long nap of almost twenty years together before she awakened.' Doth he think, that Conscience doth not take a longer nap than this in some men, and yet they pretend to have it truly awakened at last? What thinks he of late converts ? Cannot they be true, because conscience hath slept so long in them? Must we conclude in such cases, that some inordinate passion gives conscience a jog at last? So that it cannot be denied, he saith, that an inordinate and brutal passion had a great share at least in the production of the schism. How! cannot be denied ! I say from his own words it ought to be denied, for he confesses none could know but the king himself; he never pretended that the king confessed it: How then cannot it be denied ? Yea, how dare any one affirm it ? Especially when the king himself declared in a solemn assembly, in these words, saith Hall, (as near, saith he, as I could carry them away,) speaking of the dissatisfaction of his conscience,—“For this only cause, I protest before God, and in the word of a prince, I have asked counsel of the greatest clerks in Christendom; and for this cause I have sent for this legat, as a man indifferent, only to know the truth, and to settle my conscience, and for none other cause, as God can judge." And both then and afterwards, he declared, that his scruples began upon the French ambassador's making a question about the legitimacy of the marriage, when the match was proposed between the Duke of Orleans and his daughter; and he affirms, that he moved it himself in confession to the Bishop of Lincoln, and appeals to bim concerning the truth of it in open court."---Vindication of the Are swer to some late Papers, p. 109.
The sermon on the mount was Protestant.-P. 204. Stillingfleet concludes his “ Vindication” with this admonition to Dryden: “ I would desire him not to end with such a barefaced assertion of a thing so well known to be false, viz. that there is not one original treatise written by a Protestant, which hath handled distinctly, and by itself, that Christian virtue of humility. Since within a few years (besides what hath been printed formerly) such a book hath been published in London. But he doth well to bring it off with, at least that I have seen or heard of;' for such books have not lain much in the way of his inquiries. Suppose we had not such particular books, we think the Holy Scripture gives the best rules and examples of humility of any book in the world; but I am afraid he should look on his case as desperate if I send him to the Scripture, since he saith, • Our divines do that as physicians do with their patients whom they think uncurable, send them at last to Tunbridge-waters, or to the air of Montpellier."
Dryden, in the Introduction, says, that the author of this work was called Duncombe; but he is charged with inaccuracy by Montague, who says his name is Allen. It seems to be admitted, that his work is a translation from the Spanish. The real author may have been Thomas Allen, rector of Kettering, in Northamptonshire, and author of “ The Practice of a Holy Life, 8vo. 1716;" in the list of books subjoined to which, I find " The Virtue of Humility, recommended to be printed by the late reverend and learned Dr Henry Hammond,” which perhaps may be the book in question. A sort of similarity of sound between Duncombe and Hammond may have led to Dryden's mistake. Alonzo Rodriguez, of the Order of the Jesuits, wrote a book called “ Exercicio de perfecion y virtudes Christianus, Sevilla, 1609," which seems to be the work from which the plagiary was taken.
P. 205. Qur author, in the preceding lines, had employed himself in re